Monday, September 6, 2010

Pointe Hilton resort up for sale

The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and its adjacent golf club are scheduled to be sold to the highest bidder at a foreclosure auction in November.

The 584-suite resort and its golf club, the Pointe Golf Club on Lookout Mountain, received a notice of trustee's sale from lender Bank of America on Aug. 23.

The compound financial pressure from a difficult tourism year and plummeting real-estate value forced several resorts into bankruptcy or foreclosure, including the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park; the former Mondrian Scottsdale Hotel in Scottsdale (reopened in May as Hotel Theodore); the Arizona Golf Resort in Mesa, and the Club at Seven Canyons in Sedona.

Despite ownership changes, all of the projects remain open for business.

The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs, 11111 N. Seventh St., is just south of Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. Its auction is scheduled for Nov. 29, according to unofficial Maricopa County Recorder's Office documents obtained Thursday from Mesa-based real-estate analysis firm Ion Data.

But postponements have been common for recent commercial real-estate foreclosures because so many properties are in default, and because lenders often must record significant losses when completing a sale.

The Pointe Hilton properties are managed by Hilton Worldwide, based in McLean, Va.

Hilton Western regional spokesman David Trumble said in a written statement that Hilton plans to continue operating the resort and could continue to do so even if it is sold.

"It is business as usual at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort," he said. "Should there be a change of ownership, it will not impact the day-to-day operations of the resort."

He said that Hilton would continue to provide uninterrupted service to its guests, and that none of the resort's 600 employees would be affected.

The borrower and property owner in default is HH Tapatio Phoenix LLC, a subsidiary of Highland Hospitality Corp., also based in McLean.

According to the notice, HH Tapatio is in default on a $55.2 million loan, issued by Bear Stearns Commercial Mortgage Securities Inc. It is a securitized loan, meaning that its value had been divided into shares and sold to investors on the open financial exchange.

Phoenix-area real-estate analysts have noted a flurry of recent business-related foreclosures and short sales in recent weeks, following months of surprisingly little lender activity.

Nearly all Phoenix-area commercial developers and property owners that financed their activities during the recent development boom are in default on their borrower agreements for failing to meet certain revenue, occupancy and debt-to-equity conditions.

Analysts have said the recent uptick in foreclosure sales could be a sign that some commercial lenders and loan servicers have lost faith in borrowers' ability to bring loans currently in default back to good standing.

One upshot is that it appears many investors and lenders believe prices on certain types of commercial real estate are at or near their low points. Most lenders are reluctant to foreclose on property when its value is declining rapidly.

The similarly named Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak is under separate ownership and would not be affected by the scheduled sale.

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic Sept. 5, 2010 12:00 AM

Pointe Hilton resort up for sale

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